A Virginia Beach angler became the first woman to ever win the White Marlin Open, which marked its 42nd annual tournament last week in Ocean City.
Cheryl McLeskey and her team aboard Backlash reeled in a 94-pound white marlin on Aug. 5, just about half-way through the tournament. She had to wait two days to see whether any other boat hauled in a larger fish.
No one came close to her catch, which was the third largest ever weighed at the White Marlin Open, according to the event's organizers. A minimum size of 70 pounds is required. A 99-pound white marlin caught in 1980 holds the tournament record.
McLeskey, the owner of the Virginia Beach Fishing Center, took home an estimated prize of $1.1 million. A fisherman from Florida came in second place with a 79-pound white marlin.
The annual event, billed as the "world's largest billfish tournament," draws hundreds of boats and thousands of anglers and spectators to Ocean City. The anglers come for the cash prizes, while spectators come for the fun at the scales at Harbour Island Marina.
This year more than 300 boats signed up for the event and more than $3 million in prizes was awarded.